When you’re thinking of filing for bankruptcy, the first question that runs through your mind is probably: Do I need a lawyer? Can I even afford the services of a Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer? How to do I choose a good Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer?
Some people choose to file for bankruptcy all on their own and that is their right, however, bankruptcy laws and the rules of procedure in bankruptcy court are complicated. There are federal bankruptcy laws that apply to all in the US and each state has its own bankruptcy laws as well. Depending on your personal circumstances filing under the federal bankruptcy laws may be favorable to you or state bankruptcy laws may be more favorable to you.
Courts that hear and decide bankruptcy cases are specialized courts with their own rules of procedure. There are time limits for each step in the process of filing for bankruptcy that you must work under. Given these considerations, it may be useful for you to find a Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer instead of filing on your own. What should you look for in a good Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer? And what questions do you need to ask him or her?
How experienced is the lawyer in bankruptcy cases?
The first trait that a good bankruptcy lawyer should have is a wealth of experience trying bankruptcy cases. It is one thing to know how to Google bankruptcy laws, another thing to know bankruptcy laws, and quite another thing to go to court everyday knee-deep in the practice of bankruptcy law. You want someone who trained in bankruptcy proceedings, one who has been practicing in this specific field of law, and who specializes in this practice. If the lawyer has an accounting background, so much the better.
How successful is the lawyer in trying bankruptcy cases?
Some lawyers have already practiced ten years in bankruptcy court, but they may not have won any of the bankruptcy cases they have been asked to handle. You might want to check the batting average of the lawyer. People do not file for bankruptcy because they are broke – they file for bankruptcy because they are not liquid – meaning, they have more debts than cash to pay for those debts, but they may have properties that can be sold off to pay the creditors. They may have accounts receivables from people who owe them. A good Baltimore bankruptcy lawyer knows how to propose repayment plans that satisfy the court and the creditors.
How scrupulous is this lawyer?
You might want to check the local Bar Association and see if complaints have been made against the lawyer. Some lawyers are too aggressive in pursuing their clients’ interests, others are not aggressive enough but are negligent. There may be a lot of dissatisfied clients who have filed malpractice cases against the lawyer. Afterall, a person files for bankruptcy because he or she has insufficient liquidity to pay off debts. If a bankruptcy lawyer messes up, the stakes are greater for the client. You want to be sure that the lawyer you choose will work hard on your behalf, speak you’re your creditors and reason with them.
How does this lawyer work?
You want to focus on the lawyer’s work ethic. Does he promptly return calls and respond to emails? Is he accessible to you? Does he sit and listen to you while you are discussing with him? Or, is he scrolling through his phone and checking his emails while in conference with you? You want a lawyer who has professionalism and treats his clients with courtesy and respect. Does the lawyer file documents in court on time? You want a lawyer who has self-discipline. Can you talk to this lawyer and feel that you are listened to? Can you trust this lawyer?
How much does this lawyer charge for his legal services?
This is perhaps the most important question to you now. Some lawyers are reasonable with their fees and with the terms of payment for their fees. You will want to check with the local Bar Association if they have suggested costs for legal services but be prepared to pay a premium for excellent service. Is your lawyer willing to be flexible on payment terms? Most lawyers want payment upfront even before filing the bankruptcy petition. Others offer a staggered payment schedule. This is most important because not all clients are similarly situated financially, and a lawyer must be flexible and creative. You will want a Baltimore Bankruptcy lawyer who will not put his own self-interest above your interests.
About the Law Offices of Nicholas J Del Pizzo
The burden of overwhelming debt can be too much for anyone to handle, and this is where the Law Offices of Nicholas J Del Pizzo is here to help. Our knowledge of bankruptcy and experience with Baltimore & Maryland Bankruptcy laws can help you get that fresh start you deserve. If you need help with your bankruptcy case, contact our Law Office today for your initial consultation.